The Taking is about Kyra Agnew, a 16 year old at who goes to high school and plays on the softball team with her BFF cat and does all of her actions and thoughts around her boyfriend Austin. They were best friends since they were five and only recently got into a relationship. Then one day after a big game where she got a bad bruise, her dad says she needs to take a break and think about matters before accepting college only because of Austin. Furious, she takes a breather off of Chuckanaut Drive away from her father when all of a sudden she is engulfed in light that turns the world into nothing as she passes out. She then wakes up behind a dumpster at the Gas n' Sip, and she arrives home to find out three things. She'd been gone for five years, her parents have changed while she's been gone, and she's still the same girl she was just yesterday. Or, five years ago. How so? She's still wearing her dirty school uniform with her cellphone still half charged and her bruise still bruising her leg and her teeth records the same from her last checkup. Now her life is pretty much destroyed. But what if it isn't, and her delight has simply shifted to someone else?
What drove me to The Taking was this time when I was looking for something to spend my gift card on and I read the premise after I caught wind of the beautiful cover, and it reminded me of the concept in Shallow Graves, which I thought was a really bad book, the main problem being the author chose the main character to make the worst decision and negligent act possible. But this book seemed better for a reason I couldn't place. Maybe since it was a series and it showed promise of Kyra not going that route, so I bought it, and I held it off for months, but I knew after the first three chapters this was going to be a treat. One thing I need to inform you though, is the back of this book gives quite a bit away, which makes it a good thing that I waited long enough to forget the description before I picked it back up. I've read so many books about life changes I've completely lost count. The Taking combines fantasy and personal experiences so nicely, I felt that if kids are sucked years into the future and don't think like Kyra thinks, they should.
There's also a romance that isn't your typical insta-love. It's so original it's actually creepy, and rather than shoehorning a romance because there needs to be, it uses the plot elements to form one without that romance seemingly the head of the plot. And how does the romance turn out? I really ship it. I think The Taking holds one of the best romances since Wren and Callum from Reboot. There are also romance struggles the character faces. One character asks Kyra "if they can just be friends." The book didn't have to outright say it for me to understand the pressure, especially since things were different less than a week ago to her. It was a big punch in the chest for Kyra and it is for us too, despite the fact we understand. The book also takes its time, and that was bad in Shallow Graves because I felt Breezy never really set out to learn answers we were waiting for and by the time Breezy actually asks "What the fuck is going on?" the amount of pages that have already progressed give a "Finally" feel. No such thing here. Kimberley Derting writes with a real feeling of loss, guilt and sadness, never letting the book get so sorrowful of itself that it gets tedious. There's always something strange happening in the background. The book goes off in glorious weirdness and anger but it's when the last third of the book arrives and Kyra has to really pick up her pace, when The Taking begins to really fly. I won't spoil it after trying so hard not to spoil a major element in this book for you, but the antagonist says something that actually ends up important and I never saw it coming because I always dismiss what the bad guy says as a lie in heart-pounding situations like these, and there actually ends up being some truth to them that had me holding on until the very last page, a good distraction from my sad life right now.
Though at the end, the book finishes itself up with an epilogue that I think reveals too much from the cliffhanger. In order to make the best one possible, I felt Kimberley Derting should've stuck with what she had before the epilogue and ended it there. It felt more like I was reading the next few pages of The Replaced rather than the finishing up to The Taking. There's also the fact that Kyra seems to confide in the fact that she doesn't remember anything at all and tells people this when it's clear she remembers the light being there. These are very forgivable, though, when you have a book that balances fantasy and drama without answering every question in the world. I like it when books leave questions with a promise for them to be answered in the next book, and The Taking has enough to get The Replaced as a necessary read asap. And maybe this isn't a flaw, maybe it is, but after Shallow Graves, I was surprised how quickly Kyra comes home. I almost wished she waited a little longer, but I liked how it turned out when I saw where it was going.
This book is an action-packed, human analyzing, deliciously romantic piece of work, and is one of the most enjoyable books of the year.